political theorist at the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp) , based in Berlin, and member in the editorial board of the book series. Isabell Lorey is a political theorist at the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp), and an editor of transversal texts. She is Professor of. Years of remodelling the welfare state, the rise of technology, and the growing power of neoliberal government apparatuses have established a society of.

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Marx problematized the logic of credit and debt as separating the individuals from one another, destroying social connectedness and blocking common political action.

Within the credit relationship, it is not the case that money is transcended in man, but that man himself is turned into moneyor money is incorporated in him. Human individualityhuman morality itself, has become both an object of commerce and the material in which money exists. Instead of money, or paper, it is my own personal existence, my flesh and blood, my social virtue and importance, which constitutes the material, corporeal form of the spirit of money.

Credit no longer resolves the value of money into money but into human flesh and the human heart. For over two decades now in Europe, in the ongoing hegemonic of financialized capitalism, a form of governing has been established that does not legitimise itself by guaranteeing social protection and security for the majority of citizens, but is rather characterised by social insecurity and precarization.

Governing through precarization means that the precarious are no longer solely those who can be marginalised to the peripheries of society. Due to the individualising restructuring of the social welfare state, the deregulation of the labour market, and the expansion of precarious employment conditions, we currently find ourselves in a process of the normalisation of precarization, which also affects larger portions of the middle class.

State of Insecurity

In this normalisation process, precarization has become a political and economic instrument of governing. As a result, more and more people are only able to fund retirement provisions, healthcare, and education by taking on debts. At the same time, the productivity of the self and of sociality in low-wage or unpaid positions leads directly to indebtedness. De-collectivisation and its accompanying individualisation of risk, self-management, and self-responsibility, as well as the lirey of reproduction, are the isabelp anchoring points in the current neoliberal regime of precarization for an economy of guilt and debt.

Precarious living and working conditions and the privatisation of protection against precariousness are conditions of both a prospering financial capitalism and its concomitant debt economy. As Marx has already pointed out, this iisabell is based on the expansion of productivity that involves less work in the traditional sense than subjectivation. A subjective figure is needed to assume responsibility, to take on debt, and to internalise the risks both as guilt and as debt: This personality plays a decisive role in enabling and stabilising neoliberal isabll through precarization and insecurity, for lory is no longer an outside of debt.


Everybody is indebted in one or another way: As Maurizio Lazzarato reminds us, Marx was one of the first to expressly link loret debt economy with morality, that is, with specific modes of subjectivation. In the Christian genealogy, becoming indebted cannot be separated from burdening oneself with guilt. Incurring debt results in guilt through the promise to repay creditors. The indebted person promises to continuously behave in such a way that they are able to give back what was given to them, so that they can pay back their debts.

In the debt economy, this financial exchange constitutes subjectivation. The obligation to pay back debt corresponds to that disciplinary self-governing that ensures not only subjectivising and social productivity, but also compliance.

To understand the governmental intertwining of precarization and debt, it is important to bear in mind that precarization means dealing with the unforeseeable, with contingency, of acting without being able to predict what the near or distant future will issbell.

It is precisely this ability to deal with contingency that is exploited by the loan contract, preventing agency that might start something new or refuse to work under the given conditions. The financial promise of the repayment of debt must go on, even if it requires something decidedly paradoxical of the indebted person: The logic of credit means not only controlling the future in the present, but also through self-governing isabelk make precarization and the precarized person calculable in the incalculability of their life and to hold them under control — yet doing so primarily on behalf of the creditor.

In self-precarization, however, this paradox of calculating the incalculable is reversed, the temporality of debt is phantasmically inverted: The fantasy of shaping the isaell means accepting precarization in the present. For the illusion of a predictable and better time-to-come, self-precarization appears to be a necessary investment above all amongst the northwestern European llrey classes.

What is abandoned in this self-investing projection of a future is the agency that might start something new in the present. Taking action, as Marx already pointed out, requires forces that emerge from sociality, from connectedness with others, from precariousness: And it is precisely this trust — this ethical relationship — that gets exploited by credit and indebtedness.

In the normalisation of precarization what becomes apparent precisely in the crisis of the debt economy is that there is no future, and that at the same time a new present simultaneously opens through this in which people care about how they want to live now.


Isabell Lorey, political theorist at the European Iszbell for Progressive Cultural Policies eipcpbased in Berlin, and member in the editorial board of lrey book series transversal texts. Last book in English: An Introduction to the Special Issue. issbell

Drones and the Image of Nowhere. Communism — Idea vs. De politiek van cultuur: Inleiding bij een dossier. Dossier The Right of Freedom: Dossier on Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique. A debate on legal revolutions and Europe.

State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious by Isabell Lorey

A Special Issue on the Future of the University. An introduction in three acts. Between Slavery and Resistance: Current Politics of Consumerism. A Science in Crisis? On Philosophy And Human Rights. Inleiding bij het themanummer. De toekomst van de filosofie. Inleiding bij het dossier.

Inleiding hij het themanummer Andere ogen. Inleiding op Seyla Benhabib en The claims of culture.

Isabell Lorey

Surveillance Realism and the Politics of Imagination: Is There No Alternative? Civic Tech at mySociety: Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Activism: Data Organizing Inside the Institution. Elements of Anti-Islam Populism: Towards a Critique of the Rhetoric of Precision. Embodiment and Affect in a Digital Age: Those Who Feel the Fire Burning: Drone Perception and the Aesthetico-Political Image. Occupying Politics Beyond Politics.

Pillaged Books and Plundered Maps: Pirates and the Boundaries of Language. Voorbij het multiculturalisme van Will Kymlicka? Over autonomie, extimiteit, constitutieve bindingen en pluriforme accommodatie.

Between universalism and particularism: Senseless violence or unruly iwabell The uncivil revolt of young rioters. Playstation, Demonoid, and the Orders and Disorders of Pirarchy.

Systeemtheoretische perspectieven op sociale versnelling. Noncivil Disobedience and the Right of Necessity. Kettling and the Distribution of the Sensible: Civil Disobedience in a Distorted Public Sphere.

State of Insecurity by Isabell Lorey | : Books

Awor Nan Ta Yama Noscriminal! Civil Disobedience and the Dutch-Carribean Top Over directe democratie en representatie. Ambtelijk burgerschap als statelijk verlangen. The Availability of Things: A Short Genealogy of Consumption. Configuraties van liberale Governmentality: Streven naar het actieve leven: Neoliberale governmentality als vorm van moderne politieke macht binnen het activerend arbeidsmarktbeleid. Secularism and Religious Insecurity: Reinterpreting the French Headscarf Debates.

Volk, politiek en filosofie: De januskop van de gezondheidsraad over het gevaar van wetenschappers in de politiek. Geschiedenis, geschiedschrijving, herinnering over de geschiedopvatting van Paul Ricoeur. Space-time Dissociation in Historical Experience.

A Reading of Sefarad. Seeds of the Future: Een zwakke messiaanse kracht nu-tijd en gedenken in Walter Benjamins geschiedfilosofie.

Presence als nieuw geschiedtheoretisch paradigma? Power and Powerlessness of Human Rights.